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Wanyama’s highlights and lowlights in England

Victor Wanyama’s seven-year stint in the English Premier League has ended after he completed a move to Canada’s Montreal Impact.

Here are some of the highlights and lowlights of Kenya’s captain’s tenure in the world’s most popular football league.

Arrival in England – Wanyama joined Southampton in 2013 for a reported record-breaking Sh1.2 billion transfer, becoming the first East African footballer to compete in the prestigious competition.

Best match for Southampton – His best-ever performance in a Southampton shirt arguably came against Arsenal in 2015, when he marked forwards Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, and Olivier Giroud out of the game. Southampton won the match 4-0 and the BBC later reported; “They (Southampton) were marshaled brilliantly in the middle of the park by the superb Victor Wanyama, who made a match-high six tackles and 10 interceptions, often bullying the opposition players.”

Big move to Spurs – Three years later, he joined Tottenham Hotspur for another record Sh1.5 billion move and signed a five-year contract that ensured him a gross pay of Sh1 million every day.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama (L) fouls Barcelona’s Argentinian striker Lionel Messi during the Champions League group B football match match between Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona at Wembley Stadium in London, on October 3, 2018.

Debut goal – He was never going to be a consistent goalscorer being a defensive-minded midfielder. But he scored on his debut against Crystal Palace.

“Getting a goal on my debut in front of my fans was just amazing,” he explained in a post-match interview.

Memorable goals – He also scored a thumping header against Manchester United and a rocket of a shot against Liverpool which the English Premier League voted as the goal of the month. Wanyama also scored against Crystal Palace in the historic final game before White Hart Lane was closed for renovations.

Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek (L) vies with Tottenham’s Victor Wanyama during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match at the the Johan Cruyff Arena, in Amsterdam, on May 8, 2019. PHOTO | AFP

House burglary – In 2014, while Wanyama was out on club duty, burglars gained access to his residence and took away his valuables including a Range Rover, shoes, clothes, jewelry and memorabilia .

“They even took away my pants,” he said later in an interview.

Champions’ League experience – The move to Tottenham gave him a chance to feature in the prestigious UEFA Champions League. In the competition, he earned a chance to play against some of the greatest football teams in the world including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Juventus, while brushing shoulders against the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He was part of the Spurs team which made it to the final of the competition in 2019.

Endless injuries – A series of niggling injuries and loss of form saw him fall out with former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino who once described handing him game time to be akin to a ‘charity’ session. He was also almost never considered by current manager Jose Mourinho for game time.

Harambee Stars captain and Tottenham midfielder Victor Wanyama. PHOTO | COURTESY
Harambee Stars captain and Tottenham midfielder Victor Wanyama. PHOTO | COURTESY